Before I got my purchase permit and then immediately my concealed carry permit here in Western North Carolina 2+ years ago, I had never shot a pistol in my life. I got it because in some places of our Catholic Diocese a prerequisite for being a police chaplain is to go though critical incident training facilitated by the FBI. Part of the course deals with terrorists and terrorism and situational awareness and the handling of critical incidents so as to facilitate the most people surviving in whatever ways of assistance that is possible according to the possibilities.
Because of unforeseen contingencies, the agents make you familiar with, that is, know how to break down and set up and accurately fire under any conditions pretty much any kind of gun there is, at least all the variants used by any police department or police response unit in one’s region. While I figured I could learn how to work with rifles or shotguns easy enough (though I would have to stare at the math for sniper work a bit), I also thought that it would be more difficult to acquire skills for a pistol, such as shooting while running, etc., and that those lack of skills would slow me down.
As one can tell from the older pictures above, early on I was tending to make grip mistakes, with inconsistency being my strong point, you know, with being self-taught and all that. It’s pretty bad when inconsistency is your strongest point! I had plenty of hyper-qualified people giving advice, but only rarely would I be at a range with anyone. The hermitage is the most middle of nowhere place for a range imaginable. Leading myself, it’s the blind leading the blind. And it’s that way until today. So, I need practice. But I haven’t been able to have a good extended session for really quite a long time now. And since those pictures were taken above I’ve pretty much limited myself to various tactical pistol courses, such as this simple one for periodic pistol qualification for already serving FBI agents. It’s easy as they don’t want agents getting a DQ, a disqualification. Here’s that course pictured below:
That picture is also pretty old, but it exactly represents what I put up the other day in the exact same place at the hermitage. Those are legal size paper details of the inside bottle of the QIT 97-99 set out at 3-5-7-15-25 yards. One draws from the holster for various combinations of shots and timings. Here’s what I had just started to do on the infamous “Day Off” the other day in a totally relaxed manner. Timings are in hundredths of seconds:
So, not so quick. Cutting those times in half would be ideal. But the hits were all in time and all accurate. But that’s a false report, really, as I didn’t bother to get myself worked up with a bit of adrenaline (as one can do with, say, hill sprints, or not!), which adrenaline is what will always happen in a critical incident. Anyway, after this, I had planned on doing the FAMs course and SEALs course, et al., but I didn’t even finish stage four (of five stages) a couple of minutes into the first run through the FBI course.
The phone rang. The police.
As soon as I answered, I knew I was done with any shooting for the day and started packing up the targets mid-course while I continued speaking. That phone call went on for a very long time there on that mountain trail up to the hermitage. The phone cut out multiple times (no strong cell-tower signal at the hermitage) but we reconnected and continued until we talked ourselves out for the day. It was getting dark out, so I headed down the ridge and had a great chat and meal with the neighbors and then got myself back home before midnight. Some hundreds of miles. The next day was given to research about that conversation, and today will be given over to answering this interlocutor by email.
The guy with whom I was talking is well known to all police chiefs in the country. He recommended lots of things to me to put some past skills at the service of law enforcement locally, in these USA, and on a more international basis. I recognized in him a spirit which I only sometimes come across. His devotion to God and country, his patriotism, his integrity, the suffering he’s been through, all so inspiring.